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Thread: SOOC - honesty is the best policy

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    SOOC - honesty is the best policy

    For those struggling with forumspeak! SOOC = straight out of camera = jpg(basically)

    some news that Reuters have recently announced that they want freelance photographers to send in SOOC jpgs to the office, and not images converted from raw files.

    That is, not that they don't want the raw file, but they don't want jpg files that have been 'shopped' from any other files.
    I'm guessing that they want to see in the exif the software to be that of the camera!

    Noble in it's basic principle .. but an exercise in futility as a reality I think.

    What I'm thinking is that Reuters are getting tired of receiving some questionable looking material from over artistically inclined, current generation freelancers who's notion of reality is the current most popular Instagram filter!

    So Reuter's new directive is almost certainly aimed to minimise this artistic bent and attempt to eliminate any distortion of reality in the images they receive.
    The idea is perfectly understandable .. honourable and even desired. At least it should be desired, as I prefer my news uncooked, unbaked, unprocessed and not mired by someone else's idea of what it should have looked like.
    For news images, I prefer the plain jane boring looking images.
    Now, my thoughts are off on unrelated tangents if I see an image presented as news if that images looks overly fantastic!
    That is, if the image of the news article looks in any way 'shopped', I generally stop thinking of the news in the article, and my thoughts are off on the topic of the image itself .. either that it's nicely done(but I don't like the idea that it's 'done' at all), or that the person presenting the piece is trying to hide something by presenting such a well processed image.

    Note that this is only for news images relating to some news article! For artistic images(or general photography) I don't mind much either way. But news is news and it should be about the news .. and not someone's point of view!

    Anyhow ... back onto the topic of why the effort is futile!
    Exif data is easily manipulated to reflect whatever the photographer wants in the image metadata!
    I can't understand why the so called powers that be at Reuters can't understand that.

    Eg. I have an image saved either SOOC, or converted to jpg by my preferred Nikon software. If I need to tweak that image, say just to compress it a tad more to fit within the 250Kb limit, I find that the best program to do that is FSViewer. (I used to use other image resizers, but now find FSV the best way).
    But what FSViewer does, is to resize the image as you need .. hence is manipulating the image in a fairly complicated manner .. yet when you save the image, in the metadata the software used to create the jpg image is still the originating software! .. ie. not FSViewer.

    Exiftool is a program that can manipulate the exif/metadata to the point of impossibility(if you care).

    From my (very basic) understanding of metadata/exif manipulation, while you can see that metadata may have been altered in some way .. the problem is that you don't know from what original source!

    Personally, I think they've gone the wrong way, and should be asking for raw files instead!
    Once again, my (basic) understanding of raw files is that they can't be altered enough to hide some surreptitious secret sauce!

    Alternatively! .. an even more simple idea is would be:
    If those reporters are submitting any questionable images as news material and any images are found to have been 'shopped' to an extent considered a wee bit too artistic .. then ban that reporter/freelancer!
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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    I think they are looking for an easy method works most of the time. Nothing will work all the time and having to play with masses of images probably isn't possible.

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    Ausphotography Regular swifty's Avatar
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    The problem with submitting RAW files are that how big are some of them these days? 80MB, maybe more? And I can only guess what the volume of submissions Reuters gets.
    But since they now only want jpegs originating from the camera only, will the thumbnail jpegs embedded in every RAW file do? Not shooting RAW + jpeg, just RAW. But every RAW file has an embedded jpeg which is what you see at the back of the camera when reviewing the RAW pics you shoot.
    Should work quite well since they are small and easy to send and doesn't take up much space so the editors can quickly sort through what they want and request the RAW files of the ones they want to publish, which should match the thumbnail jpegs content-wise.
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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    That is, if the image of the news article looks in any way 'shopped', I generally stop thinking of the news in the article, and my thoughts are off on the topic of the image itself .. either that it's nicely done(but I don't like the idea that it's 'done' at all), or that the person presenting the piece is trying to hide something by presenting such a well processed image.

    Note that this is only for news images relating to some news article! For artistic images(or general photography) I don't mind much either way. But news is news and it should be about the news .. and not someone's point of view!

    Anyhow ... back onto the topic of why the effort is futile!
    I'll ignore your back on topic and suggest that Reuters (and other media presenting news that needs photos) could get around this by re-employing some of them photogs they all got rid of in the last few years. Some of them photogs actually had careers presenting things honestly.
    Last edited by Mark L; 19-11-2015 at 10:34pm.

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    Spot on Mark.

    Isn't it curious that whilst number of full time togs employed by the media has steadily(and rapidly) decreased ... seems to me that reports of issues in photography integrity has increased at the same rate, but in reverse!

    It's obvious that over time this issue will become such a great concern for news agencies, and the effort of keeping it all in check is only going to get harder.

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    Member CathyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    For those struggling with forumspeak! SOOC = straight out of camera = jpg(basically)

    some news that Reuters have recently announced that they want freelance photographers to send in SOOC jpgs to the office, and not images converted from raw files.

    Anyhow ... back onto the topic of why the effort is futile!
    Exif data is easily manipulated to reflect whatever the photographer wants in the image metadata!

    Exiftool is a program that can manipulate the exif/metadata to the point of impossibility(if you care).

    From my (very basic) understanding of metadata/exif manipulation, while you can see that metadata may have been altered in some way .. the problem is that you don't know from what original source!
    I found this discussion on EXIF very interesting I understand the thread was intended to comment on whether or not an image was 'real' or 'shopped', but I was always under the impression that at least the EXIF information recorded by the camera itself could not be edited - camera body & lens used information for example. I understand there are ways to add/manipulate EXIF information to a file, but surely there is a way to verify these images?
    CathyC
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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    I suppose a main point is that Reuters don't seem to be saying that ALL PP is necessarily bad/dishonest/etc,
    but rather that it doesn't suit their needs.

    For general purposes, if the info is there in an image, you can alter it to make your own picture.
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ameerat42 View Post
    I suppose a main point is that Reuters don't seem to be saying that ALL PP is necessarily bad/dishonest/etc,
    but rather that it doesn't suit their needs.

    For general purposes, if the info is there in an image, you can alter it to make your own picture.
    I Agree. I can see why reuters would do that. It must be very annoying to get masses of photos that look more like SciFi book covers than the real world and then there is cloning, which can be even worse. Professional press photographers have not shown themselves to be immune to these temptations.

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CathyC View Post
    but I was always under the impression that at least the EXIF information recorded by the camera itself could not be edited - camera body & lens used information for example. I understand there are ways to add/manipulate EXIF information to a file, but surely there is a way to verify these images?
    It still doesn't stop you being able to change the ExIF that the camera embeds before submitting your SOOC jpgs.
    And how would they know it's SOOC anyway?

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    Member CathyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark L View Post
    It still doesn't stop you being able to change the ExIF that the camera embeds before submitting your SOOC jpgs.
    And how would they know it's SOOC anyway?
    so that means that if you look at the exif to see what settings someone used to take a particular photo, that there is a possibility those exif settings may be manipulated/edited/incorrect?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CathyC View Post
    so that means that if you look at the exif to see what settings someone used to take a particular photo, that there is a possibility those exif settings may be manipulated/edited/incorrect?
    Yep!

    If you shoot an image straight out of the camera(whether jpg or tif), the software used data entry in the exif will describe your camera model(and most likely the firmware version as well)

    Using the exif is easier to mislead the viewer of the image, than is the image itself.

    That is, you could easily clone out some annoyingly small miscreant material out of an image which is highly frowned upon for news images, no matter how insignificant the annoyance is.

    So lets say you do this via Photoshop and then save the image as a jpg.
    In the exif in the jpg image there will be a data point that describes the software used. If you do that, the software used(in this instance Photoshop) then edits the appropriate data area with a description of itself. So the software used in the exif will say Photoshop/CS6/CC/whatever.

    You can then use some easily available software(exiftool comes to mind here) to edit the exif data to change the software used data in the exif to something else.

    1/. So lets say you've cloned out some part of the image in Ps, and the exif is then modified to reflect that Ps was used to save the image, by implication the image could have any form of editing done to it(due to the ability of the software). As a viewer you could easily expect that the image has been manipulated to any extent.
    If the image is a news image, and it was then revealed that some cloning was done to it, it's not as much of a shock that it was manipulated in such a manner(because we can see in the exif that Ps was used)

    2/. But, if that photographer used exiftool to alter the software used data in the exif on that image to describe that the camera was the software used, then it's blatantly obvious that this photographer has gone to extensive lengths to hide their dubious practices!

    it could be reasonably argued that in #1, the photographer is simply ignorant of the point that it's frowned upon to edit news images in such a way(inexperience/ignorance/stupidity/etc)
    in #2, the photographer is obviously aware that it's not cool to manipulate images in such a way for news, and is hiding the fact that they have done so.

    I edit the exif data in some of my images all the time:
    I don't do it surreptitiously or for some evil, sinister gain.
    I edit the lens data in the exif to make the image more accurate for when I search the archive for specific lens important data.
    if you use a fully manual, non compatible lens on many cameras, they don't report focal length or aperture or whatever accurately in some instances.
    So what I edit in exif is the actual aperture used, or actual focal length, if the camera doesn't allow for that actual focal length to be accurately inputted.

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    It's all about the Light!
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    Even if it is SOOC a picture can very easily lie.
    Just the framing by the 'tog can change everything.

    Further, there are staged shots that tell lies. Eg. google “Pallywood.”
    regards, Kym Gallery Honest & Direct Constructive Critique Appreciated! ©
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    It's all about the Light!
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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    I edit the exif data in some of my images all the time:
    AK shoots canon but is so embarrassed he changes all the EXIF to show Nikon

    Joking aside, you can change the EXIF to ANYTHING!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kym View Post
    AK shoots canon but is so embarrassed he changes all the EXIF to show Nikon
    It's actually very embarrassing the kind of gear I can get my hands onto! ....
    I give the Canon gear to Nikon for assessment, and they give me some time with some of their upcoming gear!

    D800E_DSD_0748.jpg

    ... Joking aside, you can change the EXIF to ANYTHING!
    For CathyC's attention! .. check the exif in the image above
    (exif should be visible if you have a web browser addon, otherwise download and check it on your PC)
    Last edited by arthurking83; 21-11-2015 at 6:13pm.

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    The EXIF says ...
    Camera Maker: Nikon
    Camera Model: D900 << VERY NEW
    Lens: Nikkor
    Image Date: 1824-01-01 00:00:01 (no TZ) << Joseph Nicéphore Niépce took the first photo in 1826 ???
    Focal Length: 20.0mm (35mm equivalent: 20mm)
    Aperture: ƒ/4.0
    Exposure Time: 0.0001 s (1/16000) << YOWZER
    ISO equiv: 16 << VERY low noize
    Metering Mode: Unknown
    Flash Fired: No
    Orientation: Normal
    GPS Coordinate: undefined, undefined
    Creator: Frank Capa
    Copyright: Santa Clause
    Comment: fooled you!
    Software: Nikon v1.0.0

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CathyC View Post
    so that means that if you look at the exif to see what settings someone used to take a particular photo, that there is a possibility those exif settings may be manipulated/edited/incorrect?
    And on a forum like this, no one would benefit from changing the EXIF. And EXIF also won't show you the changes that have been done in post processing (if you're looking at the settings people use on a forum like this).

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    Member CathyC's Avatar
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    thank you everyone - it appears the EXIF may not be as reliable as I thought
    If the EXIF can be manipulated so much, then how do photographers prove that a particular image is theirs?

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CathyC View Post
    thank you everyone - it appears the EXIF may not be as reliable as I thought
    If the EXIF can be manipulated so much, then how do photographers prove that a particular image is theirs?
    Keep the original (raw/jpeg/whatever) and put in a hidden digital code in the image (steganography).

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    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    Comment deleted.
    Last edited by Cage; 23-11-2015 at 12:23pm.
    Cheers
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    To me, the main reason they want to do this is so that in the event that they do print a manipulated image that they get sued for, they can say that the blame is not theirs, but on the supplier of the photo, as their rules prohibit them from supplying NatGeo any manipulated photos.
    Nat Geo is supposed to be an honest organisation, and so insisting on SOOC images they look to be acting as honestly as possible.

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